The first quarter of 2020 felt never-ending. Amid a global pandemic and a new job, I managed very little progress with the blog. I contemplated whether to continue these updates, since this blog, much like my new day job, is more a nonprofit endeavor than a business.
Out of curiosity, I went back to the first update I published a year ago. Looking at the YoY growth, I am quite pleased by the progress. While still a nonprofit endeavor/expensive hobby, I’ve certainly advanced more than if I hadn’t held myself accountable with these updates. More reason to continue!
In previous updates, I’ve highlighted changes from quarter to quarter, but for this one, I would like to compare changes from Q1 2019 to Q1 2020. Both quarters, I didn’t do much with the blog, hence a helpful baseline comparison on the blog’s steady state.
Average Stat for Q1
- 1,548 monthly page views (+591)
- 430 (28%) monthly pages views from organic search (+371/+22pts)
- 83.69% bounce rate (-8.22 pts)
- 14 domain authority (+5)
- 72 email subscribers (+36)
- 55k monthly Pinterest views (+43k)
- 2,479 Likes on Facebook Page* (+563)
- 3,111 Followers on Twitter* (+1,055)
- 1,573 Followers on Instagram* (568)
*As of March 31, 2020
While I’m a long way away from making any real money from this hobby, I am quite pleased with the progress. I never expected any overnight success, and throughout the year, I’ve learned so much about what it means to blog full-time. I am a firm believer that it’s essential to try out an experience to fully internalize its challenges. Blogging is no different.
Success in life is often about tiny incremental improvement. Some days, the stats don’t seem to mean anything as they inch forward at snail speed. Yet, one year later, the changes are there to be seen. Even as a hobby, I am glad I’ve held myself accountable.
Blogging/Life Lessons Learned
Blogging Forms New & Diverse Connections
Beyond the numbers, I’ve gained a great deal from my blogging efforts this past year. Most center around the people that I’ve come to connect either through the blog itself or via various social media channels where I market my writing. I’ve learned that there really is a niche for absolutely every topic, and within each topic, there are sub-clusters.
I’ve known this benefit from when I was actively blogging back in my Peace Corps days a decade ago. Yet I’m happy to see while social media usage has shifted massively, the core principle of bringing unique individuals together have not. I’ve connected with the personal finance twitterati when I explored writing about financial freedom. Discovered many Chinese/Taiwanese-Americans like myself who struggle with our identities, travelers who forge their own path in life to work remotely, and fellow global citizens who continue to call a place home where they don’t hold a passport.
These new connections are people I would unlikely to encounter in daily lives. Yet discussions with these individuals have opened my mind and gave me many inspirations for my writing, some have provided guest post opportunities to increase exposure. I’m grateful for our interconnected world, and for the generosity of individuals who share their thoughts to inspire creativity.
It’s Okay to Take Breaks
Three out of the past 12 months, I’ve taken the entire month off to spend time with family and friends. These breaks are vital to maintain motivation, and upon each return, I gain fresh perspective and clarity. Allowing scheduled breaks prevents burnout, and ensures I don’t drop the ball on this hobby that I’ve been holding on with a thin thread over the last decade.
Know Your Value & Avoid Cookie-Cutter Traps
When embarking upon a new journey, we look for other people’s success stories. My favorite genre of books is biography. Figuring out this whole blogging thing was no different. The landscape had changed since when I first started writing on Blogspot. The sheer volume of “how to make money with your blog” out there is dizzying.
The more I learn, the less I want to make money with a blog. Until I find a monetization strategy that aligns with my value, I don’t want to plaster this blog with ads and pop-ups. This “blogging as a business” experiment makes me extra grateful to have a level of financial freedom where I don’t need to make money from this hobby and can keep an authentic voice.
2020 Q2 Goals
I spent much of Q1 trying to strike a balance with a new job and this hobby. Reflecting on the past year’s progress motivates me to once again set specific goals to keep myself accountable and continue to make those incremental improvements.
Publish One Post Per Week
I decided to lower the bar to once per week to be more realistic based on how things have gone in Q1. A weekly post seems the most realistic cadence to keep my life at a happy balance, and able to keep “being busy” at bay.
Create a Start-Here Page
This goal was listed in Q4, but I still haven’t gotten around to this. Since I’m writing about a random bunch of things here, perhaps a page to help readers find my best pieces would be useful.
Fix SEO on 15 Old Post
Another Q4’19 goal, but this one I’ve made some progress. Currently, according to the Yoast plug-in, I have 300 posts that either don’t have a key phrase or need some improvement. Let’s reduce that by 15 this quarter.
Curate 3 more Travel Guides from the Blogosphere
I’ve learned that these guides take a really long time to curate, so I’ll be realistic and set the goal for merely one per month.
Cash Out Google Ads
I’ve come to really dislike ads on blogs. Over the decade, I’ve always had one little Google Ad at the bottom of my blog. My lifetime earning is at a pitiful $81. Google won’t let me cash out until it reaches $100. Looking to place this silly ad at the bottom of each post to help boost get me to $100, and then I can get rid of it forever!
Alright, I think these are enough to keep me busy this quarter. As always, thank you for coming along on this journey with me. I appreciate your comments, feedback, or simply taking the time to read my words. Writing is infinitely more fun when I know other people take a peep at them!